Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

We’re all live music business experts now (again)

Some spectacular examples of missing the point when it comes to the continuing blowback from the G**** B**** mess

The theatre of dreams except if you're G**** B*****

Wed, Jul 30, 2014, 15:50


If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the G**** B**** omnishambnles, it’s that we’re all experts when it comes to live music. Forget the fact that most people only get to express their expertise when things go wrong a la the man in the hat or the Swedish House Mafia mess or MCD’s handling of that infamous Babs gig a few years ago. No, forget all that. When it cimes to live music, there is nothing you can teach us. We know it all.

Latest case in point: the reaction to the news from Chicago about ol’ G**** B****, the man who should have rounded off his own personal five in a row down the road in Croker last night where it not for Unforeseen Circumstances. It turns out that the man who refused to play two shows in one day in Croker to help everyone out of a pickle which was not of his making is, in fact, set to play two shows in one day in Chicago during his upcoming US tour. Cue outrage, snark, jokes, fuming, ire and the usual predicatable sum of reactions. And, of course, most people missed the point. Again. And yes, I never expected to be defending a man in a stetson this summer, but there you go.

As this report puts it, G**** B**** is playing 10 shows in Chicago, including shows which the report terms “matinees” in the headline and “lunchtime” shows in the copy. Leave aside the veneer of smug from the piece – bang of “chubby country dude who wouldn’t do a solid for his Irish fans is doing it in ChiTown” all over it – and do some spadework, which the reporter didn’t bother to do as it didn’t suit the agenda.

Seeing as the Croker run didn’t happen, the 10 shows by B***** in Chicago’s Allstate Arena are the shows to mark his return to the stage. The venue capacity is 18,500 which even a maths-challenged dude will know is a lot less than the 80,000 who were going to see him strut his stuff every night on Jones Road. If he’s doing two shows a day, it’s a case that you then have 37,000 people coming and going within a few hours of each other rather than 160,000 which would have been the case if he played two shows in one day in Croke Park.

Even if you know nothing about health and safety, you’ll know that getting 37,000 people in and out of a venue in the space of a few hours is a much easier task than 160k. Compare the location and logistics of the two venues and you can see how it can be done. Had the reporter even thrown an eye over the licence application for the Croker shows, it would be abundantly clear that we’re dealing with apples and oranges here. What’s good for the Chicago goose was never going to be good for the Dublin gander, to take the previous tortured metaphor to a whole new level.

Furthermore, the Allstate Arena is an indoor arena which means that it doesn’t matter what time B***** goes onstage with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-lights-flashing show. If he was doing that kind of show in Dublin during daytime hours, the whole impact (the whole stageshow the cowboy had spent millions on by all accounts) would be lost. Cue more fuming from the fans, which all involved would probably be keen to avoid.

Then, there’s the fact that the reporter obviously didn’t bother to look at the actual show details and times. The early show is at 6pm, which is more tea-time than matinee and is certainly not lunchtime as the reporter says (or dinnertime for the many B**** fans who eat their dinner in the middle of the day). Meanhile the second show is at 10.30pm. Imagine the reaction of the Croker residents if you’d stuck that one on them in an effort to make the shows happen by all means necessary.

It’s at times like this that you’re kind of glad that a shitstorm like B**** only comes along once in a while. If it was bad enough having to listen to all kinds of nonsense over the last few weeks from people who were suddenly live music business and event licence experts, imagine having to do that week in and week out? I’d be looking for a move to another beat. Meanwhile, we look forward to hearing what new Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly has to propose about the event licensing business. Let’s hope he doesn’t just kick the can down the road until the next “subject to licence” mess rears its head.